I’ve been interested in yoga for a while. You can read on and on about the benefits: increased flexibility and strength, better balance, a calm mind, less anxiety and worry, and much more. I always found it interesting that a workout could seemingly be so good for you in both body and mind. Being someone who suffers from anxiety and worry, I thought yoga had to be worth a try. I started going a few years ago and never really stuck with it. There are always a million reasons to stop doing something and I found if I couldn’t get any friends to go with me, I simply found reasons to stop going. Always in the back of my mind, I felt guilty that I had paid for classes and never used them, so I would go to the occasional class.
A few months ago, I was finally motivated to go. I enlisted a few friends to go with me at least once a week so I could finish up my paid classes at my local yoga studio. Not long after, a fantastic Living Social deal dropped into my inbox. 10 yoga classes for $20! Looking at prices of local studios, this was an amazing deal. The yoga studio wasn’t one I’d ever heard of, but it was only about 20 minutes away from my house. One of my friends, coincidentally also named Lauren, wanted to join me and was just as excited about the deal.
Now about halfway through my 10 classes, I find myself getting hooked. At times, waking up at 8 am so I can eat and get ready before heading to a 10 am yoga class just makes me sleepy and dread going. Once I am there, it isn’t always easy either. I can’t even count how many times I’m standing there in a pose I deemed impossible before she finished explaining it, swearing in my head words I’d never say out loud, just wishing we could move on. As I stand in the warrior pose, my bent leg shaking like I’m having some sort of seizure, sometimes I feel like I don’t belong here.
But that is the best part of yoga: knowing you will always belong no matter what. You do what you can. It is a practice where you push yourself, yet you may rest if you’re not able to do something just yet, and you can even close your eyes if you feel that you are comparing yourself to the seasoned yogi next to you. In yoga, there is room for improvement always. No one is perfect at it. At times I feel silly and punish myself. Why aren’t you more flexible? Why are you sweating in this beginner class? Why, why, why! I have to force myself to stop asking “why” and just enjoy my practice. Who cares if I can’t do certain yoga poses perfectly yet? At least I am there, trying and learning and doing something positive for myself. Just getting myself to go to yoga is already a win in my book.
One of the reasons I love yoga is that it is a workout, but it is also a way to relax. I love hearing the poems or saying that teachers often talk about during class. One of my favorites is one I heard last week:
Be mindful of your thoughts because they become your words. Be mindful of your words because they become your actions. Be mindful of your actions because they become your character. Be mindful of your character because that becomes your destiny.
This quote really resonated with me. Would I have ever heard it if I hadn’t gone to that yoga class? Perhaps yes, perhaps no.
Yoga is teaching me to be strong and not give up. There are times when I give up when a yoga pose hurts too much, but each time I do it, I know it will get easier. One day, if I keep at it, I will do the poses I now deem impossible with ease. Getting there takes time and effort, but I think it will be worth it.
Until next time…Namaste,
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